Fully Your Heritage/ World Cup for Kids, Intro

My family’s World Cup Experience, scribed for Multicultural Kids’ Blogs


Starting Thursday, thirty-two nations will come together for FIFA World Cup 2014, in hot hot Brazil. 

It is a chance, of course, to see favorite players, the world’s best. Soccer is definitely our family’s cup of mate. My husband is a soccer player, so what if he’s unofficially retired at 35? Soccer love is eternal. He will forever be the handsome soccer player I snagged, the guy with the great quads. (Being that I’m American, I call it soccer, not futball). 

Now that we have little ones, now that we live in Tokyo, now that we all naturally want to root for our countries, for our heritage, the FIFA World Cup holds such meaning and great opportunity for teaching. 


This tee-pee works as our family’s net. Let’s hope Elmo is a solid keeper. 

Just two days ago, our daughter, Kariin, sidled up to her papa, just as he settled into his swiveling office chair. It was the final sendoff match for US against Nigeria. She saw our American flag, saw Nigeria’s waving, and then the songs started. “What are those songs?” 

Aha! What a teaching moment and the games haven’t even started! My guy told her about national anthems and how each country has one. The players and fans all sing it. He promised to teach her ours. “Am I a little bit American?” She sometimes thinks she’s just a bit, or maybe not reeeeally American, since we live here in Tokyo. Since she is also Japanese and speaks the language. 


What an opportunity for her to learn her song, to step into her nationality. She can cheer for each team, each of her countries, can sing each song boldly, with the loud spunk of all her three and a half years. I ran off to fetch her double passports and show her, prove to her that the eagle, stars, and stripes, along with all the writing, validate her Americanism. We look at both passports and within a minute, she is remembering, grinning, “I am both!” 

Now, for the AnthemsThis is a nice little grouping of national anthems, featuring You Tube clips and musical assessments from singers and songwriters in the biz. The writer of this article and compilation assesses that throughout the course of The FIFA World Cup, “Thirty-two national anthems played a total of 128 times over the course of the tournament”…comes out to be roughly three hours and twenty minutes of anthem-singing. Holy Moly Anthemoly. What a chance to teach our kiddos their anthem, or anthems, depending on how many countries and nations they represent! That’s how I felt, anyway, before actually showing my daughter a couple of patriotic songs. She thought it was boring and wondered if we might watch a Frozen song instead.

Back to my enthusiastic, teacher-tirade: A country’s melody and lyrics can say a lot, as well as spur on our players. It is about feeling part of your heritage, feeling the right to hold your head up and sing. Of course, nothing is stopping any of us from learning the other teams’ national anthems. Heck, all those hours of anthems may put dozens of them in our heads, all at once. We’ll be sining “God Save the Queen to the tune of Nigeria’s anthem, whistling Ireland’s tune during the coin toss, and then ending with …”and the hooooome of the brave.”

Let’s not go nuts.

fifa pic

This must be the best workout album, ever, featuring Pitbull, Jennifer Lopez, & Claudia Leitte’s Ole Ola.

If you and your fam are interested in something modern, something with a beat, look no further. Here are some pretty serious videos all vying to be your favorite FIFA World Cup Anthem” for 2014.

There is the Pepsi-made song, something from Samsung, & those yoghurt people at Activia, to name a few.

Coca-Cola did something pretty darn awesome, taking one song, The World is Ours, & bringing it to local artists to contribute their local sound to weave more than thirty versions into the whole.

Presenting, Ole Ola, the “official FIFA party song”! The samba dancers are of course, racy, just a heads-up, parents. I thought my girl would be totally blown away. Nope. “Boring”, she sighed. “When is Frozen coming on?”

I’m looking forward to seeing my daughter step into greater clarity and pride as she cheers on two nations, as she cheers on a world coming together to play a game. I’ll tell her Queen Elsa is due to make an appearance at half-time. 

Peace Out Soccer Fans,


5 thoughts on “Fully Your Heritage/ World Cup for Kids, Intro

  1. My son is about the same age, so this sounds very familiar! I love your focus on the music of the World Cup and how it relates to heritage and enthusiasm about the games. We had a similar conversation about national anthems just a few nights ago (although admittedly it came up after watching someone sing the US national anthem before an NBA Finals game). How cool that the World Cup is allowing your daughter to embrace her double heritage – as long as her principal allegiance is to Frozen, of course 😉 So glad you are participating in this project!

  2. Pingback: Japan’s Game & Father’s Day: Win Win | Melibelle in Tokyo

  3. Thank you, Leanna! I really love your comments. How fun to picture you chatting with your son over his heritage & anthems during the NBA. Yes, sounds like these teachable moments are really working for us! This is an exceptional project. I’m learning so much!

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